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LSU and the Five Stages of Grief

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Commiserate with me, why don't you?

Kevin C. Cox

How do you forget the past?

It's a question I wrestle with daily. I have hurt people. I have been hurt by people. Friends, family, significant others, even strangers. My emotions are far more invested in LSU football than I'd often like to admit. They hurt me too. Regularly. I take it personally. I shouldn't relegate such feelings to something over which I have absolutely no control, yet, there I am, every Sunday after a loss, sulking, aimlessly flipping from NFL game to NFL game re-hashing each and every play in my head.

If you're a regular reader of this site, you are no doubt aware of the ongoing debates I engage in with both my fellow writers, as well as many commenters, regarding the potential of the 2014 season. Buried beneath the back and forths, backhanded compliments and mounds of statistics there seems a fundamental difference between my perception of this team and that of many of my colleagues. This too, I wrestle with daily.

I am known to most as one who falls on the optimistic spectrum. I've long defended Les Miles, back when it wasn't "cool" to do so. I've argued for both Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson at turns. Even when things seemed bleak, I always found a way to see the sunshine through the clouds. Yet lately, that's become difficult. As I dwell on the topic, I find myself wondering why. There's no "OMG. SKY. IS. FALLING." here. In fact, I think LSU's 2014 recruiting class puts them in prime position to claim at least one, if not more national titles. Yet, something about this 2014 squad continually connects me with disappointment. Why?

This is LSU and the Five Stages of Grief.

Denial

The most common initial reaction to painful events. It's never a phase I've spent much time living in, personally. But we've all been there. I believe when the clock hit zero on October 19th the exact words I uttered were, "We just lost to fucking Ole Miss." Denial. That didn't really just happen. I spent the rest of the night drunkenly conveying to my friends, none of which were LSU fans, just exactly how awful Ole Miss truly is.

Yet, this runs deeper than a single loss a season ago. It's about staring into the abyss that became the LSU offense for five straight seasons from 2008 to 2012. Sure, we still experienced good success in that time frame, but watching that offense aimlessly sputter out for the good part of 80 weeks of college football seasons puts one in a state of mind of not believing what he/she is seeing is actually real.

This was real. This really happened. I think.

Anger

Once we've trudged through the reality and accepted that the unreal is truly real we live in anger. It's pure, irrational disgust at, well, everything. Displaced aggression if you will. Please apologize to your 12 lb. miniature Schnauzer that really didn't know any better when you field goal kicked him across the room.

You know who sucks? Alabama. You know who also sucks? Ole Miss. Did I mention Florida? Georgia? Tennessee? Auburn? Kentucky? Arkansas? Yeah, fuck all those guys. Especially Alabama. Fuck 'em twice. They are the fucking worst, man. Remember when all their QBs had that same stupid fucking hair cut? Who cares if our QB had that same fucking stupid hair cut, theirs had it first and that is soooooo much worse. The "Bama Bangs" is actually not a stealthy metal band that may play the Spanish Moon in October. No, it's a fucking hairtrocity befitting only the worst people in the world, aka those who play quarterback for the University of Alabama Elephants.

God dammit.

Bargaining

The good ole "if only" mentality. This is where I think many LSU fans still live.

"If only we didn't have to play Florida..."
"If only Alabama wasn't gifted a rematch..."
"If only we had better quarterback play..."
"If only Chaz Ramsey wasn't such an insufferable douche nozzle..."

If ifs and buts were candy and nuts we'd all have a Merry Christmas.

Fuck that. I'm still pissed. Sorry I haven't moved on from stage two.

Depression

Oh shit oh shit oh shit. This is me, isn't it?

"This all sucks anyway, why bother?"

Dear god, am I still aching from 2011? 2012 and 2013 were merely blurs of football action that happened. Vague apparitions clad in purple and gold, with, I think, Tigers, on the side of their helmets, on big green fields, ran back and forth and did stuff and eh, who really cares, I think we played Iowa once. Those were things that happened... I think.

I'm told this step allows the person to disconnect from everything, possibly to avoid further damage. That makes sense because 2012 and 2013 never actually happened in my mind.

So anyway, Alabama is the fucking worst and why is their mascot an Elephant and did Bear Bryant actually really accomplish that much, and who cares if they have Nick Saban, he's basically LSU's Bama Bangs, and oh god is AJMcCarron a person? You sure? Yes? Positive? I don't believe you. He's a walker, isn't he. He's eaten human flesh. He likes human flesh. Human flesh makes his tattoos grow. That's what I thought. Yeah, Alabama sucks.

Acceptance

Everything is going to be okay.

Clearly, I have not yet reached stage five. I have not yet come to terms with the painful past. Those moments are still too real for me. The memories of offensive ineptitude ingrain in my mind that this is the path that all young LSU offenses must take. Sure Johnny Manziel and Jameis Winston and all those guys kicked ass right away. But that doesn't happen at LSU. At LSU our QBs throw a dozen pick sixes, forward lateral it to the defense and just generally contribute to fantastic offensive suckitude.

Maybe it's time I moved on, forgave, accepted, and enjoyed what's to come?

Fuck that, LSU is gonna suck this year.